Running at any age is amazing! Need a little evidence? Just check out the six strong women on our March 2015 cover. We rounded up runners of all ages—from 16 to 61—who have just a few things in common: They rely on running to keep them feeling fit, confident and happy, and they plan on logging sweaty miles for the rest of their lives.
Hip check it.
Physical therapist Heather Christain explains appropriate stress on our bones at this age can actually maintain bone density and keep them strong for years to come. The way running pounds on the hips is good for preventing that dreaded cracked hip you often hear about in later years. Dr. Stephen Pribut, sports medicine practitioner, concurs about preventing bone loss and encourages his patients to add upper-body exercises to ward off osteoporosis of the spine as well. He explains running can also help with combating arthritis, preventing cognitive decline and improving sleep.
Related: Bone Health For Female Runners
Stay young at heart.
“Fitness for the young is an option. Fitness for the old is an imperative,” says Walter M. Bortz II, MD, professor of medicine at Stanford University and longevity expert, who adds that running can make you 30 years younger—at 80, he took a fitness test that showed he had the body of a 50-year-old. “It’s never too late to start!”
Go for the gold!
Good news: As your age group goes up, the competition goes down. With fewer runners to compete against, your chance of getting a podium spot increases. Olympian Ruth Wysocki says, “There’s something in me that says, okay, in March I’m going to be 58. If I stepped it up a notch, I wonder what I could do in that new age group!” We’ll be watching her in her 60s and beyond!
Heart of the matter.
The heart is a muscle—and just like any other muscle, it needs to be exercised to maintain proper health and strength, says Dr. Chad Wells, chiropractor with The League Sports Rehab in San Diego. Getting that little pumper pumping on a run will also provide increased blood flow throughout your body, providing essential nutrition to all your tissues.
Run-tire instead. Running is a healthy way to focus your energy after you stop working. Tara Dellolacono, registered dietitian and nutrition strategist for Clif Bar & Company, says, “I know many lifelong runners in their 70s still setting goals for themselves, like running the Grand Canyon. Retirement affords more time for training for longer distances and more adventurous-type ultra runs they may not have considered before when training time was more tight.”